Apple Computer Inc. announced yesterday that it is investing $100 million in Samsung Electronics Co. to help the South Korean company's semiconductor subsidiary expand its production capacity for TFT-LCD panels, which have been in short supply since last year.
Apple is making the investment in order to ensure that there will be an adequate supply of the TFT-LCD (thin-film transistor liquid-crystal displays) for its portable products, the company said in a statement issued today.
"With our new iBook and fast-selling PowerBooks, Apple will need more flat displays than ever going forward," Steve Jobs, Apple's interim CEO said in the statement.
Samsung Semiconductor Inc. "would be running out of capacity without this investment," said Richard Haas, a spokesman at Samsung Semiconductor's office in San Jose, Calif. Samsung Semiconductor is a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics.
The South Korean company shipped 2.25 million TFT-LCD panels last year and about the same amount in the first half of this year, said Haas. "So we really ramped up compared to last year and expect to continue that ramp," he added.
At the beginning of this year, IBM invested $100 million in Samsung to help the company accelerate its delivery of Direct RDRAMs (Rambus dynamic random access memory) chips, the next-generation PC memory chips based on Rambus Inc.'s high-speed interface technology.